Weber Grill Restaurant – Chicago

30 11 2008
  • 539 N. State St.
  • Chicago, IL 60654
  • (312) 467-9696
  • Website
  • Menu
The Weber Grill Restaurant on State Street in downtown Chicago.

The Weber Grill Restaurant on State Street in downtown Chicago.

It isn’t very often that J and I eat at the same restaurant twice, so when I tell you this is the third time we’ve eaten at Weber Grill, you should know that it’s a good restaurant.  After spending all day walking around Chicago, it was finally time for dinner.  We had a reservation for 7:30 and we left The Gap at about 7:00 to start walking towards our dinner destination.

Weber Grill Restaurant is located at State and Ohio in the bottom floor of the Hilton Garden Inn.  The downtown restaurant is one of four locations with two others in the Chicago suburbs (Schaumburg and Lombard) and the third in Indianapolis.  Weber Grill is like no other restaurant you will ever go to.

Yes, Weber Grill Restaurant is owned by the same comapny that produces those kettle grills you should have on your patio or in your garage.  There are no stoves here.  Just grills.  Giant ranch grills.  Everything is cooked over live fire and charcoal.  It’s a grill lovers paradise.  Read the rest of this entry »





Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop – Chicago

30 11 2008
  • 830 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • (312) 337-9330
  • Website
Ghiradelli Chocolate in downtown Chicago on the Magnificent Mile

Ghiradelli Chocolate in downtown Chicago on the Magnificent Mile

By the time we made it to Ghiradelli, we had already been to two candy shops, but that wouldn’t stop any of us.  After leaving Hershey’s Chicago, the four of us walked across the street to Ghiradelli to see what they had to offer. 

Ghiradelli sits about a half block off of Michigan Avenue in the square surrounding the old pumping station.  Like other stores on the block, it’s hard to miss with all the bright signage.  We walked in and were met by a guy passing out squares of peppermint chocolate.  The shop is more of an ice cream parlor than a retail shop even though they have a wide selection of their chocolates on display near the wall. Read the rest of this entry »





Hershey’s Chicago

30 11 2008
  • 822 N. Michigan Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • (312) 337-7711
  • Website
Hershes Chicago on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago

Hershe's Chicago on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago

Hershey’s Chicago is an interesting store.   By this time in the day, my brother and sister-in-law had rejoined J and I and we started walking back down Michigan Avenue so they could check out the holiday lights and do a little shopping.  We made it back down to the Water Tower Place area and the area around the old pumping station was shoulder to shoulder people.  We made our way around the square to Hershey’s to see what they had to offer.

Who doesn’t like Hershey’s chocolate bars?  The Hershey’s Chicago shop is tucked back off Michigan Avenue near the Water Tower area.  It may not be right on Michigan, but you’re not going to have a hard time finding it with the giant Hershey’s sign on the side of the building.  When we walked in, we were met by a security guard who was handing out chocolate squares and directing people away from the door so there wouldn’t be a traffic jam.  J and I started looking at gift boxes and she tried to talk me into buying giant Hershey bars for Christmas presents.  I didn’t listen to her, but I probably should have. Read the rest of this entry »





Dunkin Donuts – Downtown Chicago

30 11 2008
  • 6 N. Wabash
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • (312) 828-9120
  • Website
  • Menu
Dunkin Donuts on Wabash Street in downton Chicago

Dunkin Donuts on Wabash Street in downton Chicago

The end of December in Chicago can get a little chilly.  Luckily, it was a nice day for November 29th, but after three plus hours of walking around, we started to get a chill.  There are Starbucks on every corner and J had been wanting to try their Salted Carmel Hot Chocolate.  We went by half a dozen Starbucks, but every one of them was packed.  On top of that, none of them had any seating, so we couldn’t sit and warm up.  We would have had to take our drinks back out into the cold.

As we were walking through the Jewelery District on Wabash, we went by a Dunkin Donuts.  They had some seating inside and their drinks are cheaper than Starbucks.  Still, we kept going to see if we could find a Starbucks.  We got to the corner and J said if we can’t see a Starbucks from the corner we were standing on, we’d just go to Dunkin.  Well, we could see a Starbucks, but it was just like all the others, so back to Dunkin we went. Read the rest of this entry »





Lindt – Chicago

30 11 2008
  • 840 N. Michigan Ave
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • (312) 440-3986
  • Website
Lindt in Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago

Lindt in Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago

After leaving the Billy Goat Tavern, we continued heading north on Michigan Avenue.  J and I both grew up near Chicago, so it wasn’t our first trip, but it was the first time in a long time we went downtown with no agenda, no tickets for a show, or no reason.  We just went for a walk and took in the sights.  The streets were packed with tourists and street performers so it took a little while to make it down to Water Tower Place.  Later, after picking my brother and sister-in-law up from the theater, my brother said he had no idea there was a mall in downtown Chicago. 

Water Tower Place is a seven story mall right in the heart of the shopping district on Michigan Avenue.  J and I weren’t really shopping, but we thought we’d walk around Water Tower because a.) it was warm and b.) it would kill some time.  We stopped in a few stores, but the first one we bought anything in was the Lindt store on the sixth floor.  Read the rest of this entry »





Billy Goat Tavern – Downtown Chicago

30 11 2008
  • 430 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • (312) 222-1525
  • Website
  • Menu
The Billy Goat Tavern on Michigan Ave. in downtown Chicago

The Billy Goat Tavern on Michigan Ave. in downtown Chicago

Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger.  No Pepsi…..Coke.  No Fries….Chips.  If you’re a fan of classic Saturday Night Live.  You’ve seen the skit.  The Billy Goat Tavern is a real place and the owner of the tavern is the one who put the infamous curse on the Chicago Cubs.

 J and I were walking down Michigan Avenue looking for something to eat.  When she was in college, she interned at WMAQ which is on Michigan near the Chicago river.  The Billy Goat is a popular hangout for reporters in the area as WMAQ (NBC), the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and WGN Radio all have their offices in the area.  It’s been eight years or so and she was having a hard time remembering exactly where the tavern was.  As we walked north on Michigan Avenue, she saw the sign telling us to go down a flight of stairs.  The Billy Goat Tavern is actually under Michigan Avenue. You have to go down a flight of stairs where you come to a subterranean street similar to Lower Wacker Drive on the other side of the river. Read the rest of this entry »





America’s Dog – Downtown Chicago

30 11 2008
  • 26 E. Randolph St.
  • Chicago, IL 60601
  • (312) 345-0100
  • Website
  • Menu
Americas Dog on Randolph St. in downtown Chicago

America's Dog on Randolph St. in downtown Chicago

J and I have been planning a day out in Chicago with my brother and his wife for quite some time.  My brother was going to surprise his wife with tickets to Wicked at the Ford Theater on Randolph in downtown Chicago.  J and I saw the show a couple years ago, so we weren’t going to go, but we were going to spend the day downtown walking and just enjoying the Mag Mile around Christmas time. 

My brother drove up to J’s parents house in the south suburbs then turned the keys over to me.  They were going to eat at Portillo’s in Crestwood (review HERE), but when they drove by, it was way too crowded so they passed.  He really wanted a Chicago Dog.  There were a few places along Cicero on the way to I-55, but I knew of a place in the theater district that I figured we could stop at. Read the rest of this entry »





Al’s Char-House – LaGrange, IL

29 11 2008
  • 32 S. LaGrange Road
  • LaGrange, IL 60525
  • (708) 354-6255
  • Website
  • Menu
Als Char-House in downtown LaGrange.

Al's Char-House in downtown LaGrange.

Isn’t it funny that J’s favorite restaurant is a steak house?  Here’s a place that celebrates steak yet J can’t stand the site of a medium rare piece of meat.  Funny.  We got back to J’s parents on Friday after a long day of shopping…yes, we got up for Black Friday sales and I got a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  J got a new coat that she’s been wanting for a while and my mom saved hundreds of dollars on Christmas presents.  After a nap, we headed back to Chicago where J’s mom said she was craving Al’s Char-House.  J and I were talking about going there the other night but decided on BBQ instead.  Once J’s mom got off work, we loaded up and headed to LaGrange for dinner.

Al’s Char-House is in downtown LaGrange which is beautiful.  The area is a model for new urbanism with a number of restaurants, shops, and condos.  We parked in a surface lot a couple blocks from the restaurant and walked.  It gave us an opportunity to check out some of the other store fronts downtown.  Al’s shares a building with a Mexican restaurant.  When you walk in, your confronted with the choice of going straight ahead to the Mexican place or take a quick left and go down a flight of stairs to Al’s Char-House.  The staircase going down is covered pictures of Western idols and memorabilia.

Al’s Char-House is a mix of Southwest and Old West.  Being in the basement, there are no windows, but it’s not something that’s noticeable.  We showed up on a Friday night around 8:00.  My girlfriends parents were worried that the place was going to be full so we called ahead to get our name on the waiting list.  When we got there, we found that wasn’t necessary.  There were a number of people eating, but the restaurant is huge.  The design is interesting.  You walk to the different dining rooms on what almost feels like a catwalk.  There are a number of dining rooms off the main walkway, but you have to either go up or down a step.  We were shown to a booth in the back of the restaurant.  It wasn’t the typical two people on either side booth.  It was one of those u-shaped booths instead.  J and her mom scooted in to the inside while her step dad and I took a seat on the wings.  One of the most interesting decor features was the seat backs in the booths.  Instead of cheap, plastic backing, they had real throw pillows.  Those pillows could come in handy for an in between course nap. Read the rest of this entry »





Krispy Kreme – Midlothian, IL

28 11 2008
  • 14747 Cicero Ave.
  • Midlothian, IL 60445
  • (708) 535-7649
  • Website
  • Menu
Krispy Kreme on Cicero Avenue in the Chicago suburb of Midlothian

Krispy Kreme on Cicero Avenue in the Chicago suburb of Midlothian

I never got on board with the Krispy Kreme fad.  My mom loved them.  Whenever we would take trips to Chicago, we would make a little detour to this exact store on Cicero Avenue not far from Interstate 294 or Interstate 57.  I always thought they were good, but I didn’t go crazy.  My mom would buy several dozen boxes and take them home.  If her co-workers were lucky, she might even share.  Oh sure, I would eat them, but I wouldn’t go nuts over them like so many others.

On Thanksgiving Day, J and I were leaving her parents in Chicago to head to my parents south of the city.  We were driving down Cicero like we always do and we started talking about lunch.  It was 9:30 or so when we left and neither of us had breakfast.  J assumed we were eating around noon.  When I said it was going to be later in the afternoon, she suggested hitting a drive thru. It just so happened we were in sight of the Krispy Kreme sign.  She suggested getting some doughnuts and I didn’t argue.  Read the rest of this entry »





Dominick’s Finer Foods- Oak Lawn, IL

26 11 2008
  • 8700 S. Cicero Ave.
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708) 422-3906
  • Website
Dominicks Finer Foods on Cicero Ave. in Oak Lawn, IL

Dominick's Finer Foods on Cicero Ave. in Oak Lawn, IL

I needed some last minute cream cheese to make an Oreo Cheesecake for my family’s Thanksgiving.  I didn’t want to make a cheesecake in Lansing then try to transport it to Illinois, so I just figured I would buy what  I needed in Chicago, bake it at J’s parents then take it home.  There are a couple options for grocery stores in Oak Lawn, but we went to Dominick’s because we know “someone” there. 🙂

Dominick’s is chain of supermarkets that got it’s start in the Chicago area by Dominick DeMatteo in 1918.  The first supermarket was opened in 1950.  They sold the chain in the late 60’s, but they were so unhappy with the agreement, the family bought the chain back in the 80’s. 

In the 90’s, Dominick’s was an innovator with POS systems, cafe’s, video rental, and many other things that are now commonplace in most major supermarkets.  Dominick DeMatteo died in 1993 and the family put the comapny up for sale.  In 1996, they were sold to LA based Yucaipo Co.  A few years later, they were sold to Safeway Inc.  At the time of the sale, there were 116 Dominick stores.  After years of trying to change the financial structure, Dominick’s now operates 83 stores.

We only needed to pick up a few things and they were pricing those items for holiday sale.  I picked up three packages of cream cheese, a can of sweetened condensed milk, oreos, and a springform pan.  The items rang up to $28, but after the sales were applied, it was just barely over $21 with the pan taking up a good chunk of that price.

I didn’t really get a whole lot that warrants a review and it’s not like most of you are going to run to a Dominick’s to go shopping, but I did want to throw out a little history of a Chicago institution and something you won’t be able find in many markets.